Communicate Like A Pro
After conducting a leadership seminar at the recent Azione Unlimited Spring Conference, I spoke with a group of involved dealers about the absolute traits leaders must demonstrate in order to drive results. Everyone concluded that, above all, great leaders are able to clearly communicate their expectations to others.
Having worked for some great leaders in my career, I could not have agreed more.
For example, hearing Dr. Sidney Harman speak about his vision for how we as employees played pivotal roles in the business’ success inspired me to peak performance afterward. Dr. Harman spoke eloquently—as if his life depended upon it—and thus worked magic to get things done.
If you think that being a great communicator is limited to only a few people, you may be selling yourself short. Anyone can communicate like a pro and get the results they want by using a few proven techniques. Whether you are working with a client, a builder, a co-worker or a supplier, what you say and how you say it can make all the difference in winning a bid, getting repeat business, making sure things are done as you expect, and securing the best brands.
That’s because the way you communicate is always about getting something
you want. Nothing you do in your business will have as great an impact as enhancing your skills in communicating. And since you do it every day, getting better can be an iterative process that continually yields positive results.
Unfortunately, communicating better won’t happen overnight. It requires a conscious effort to align all the pieces. So if communicating better is on your to-do list, here are a few pointers to getting yourself across and driving the results you want:
1) Point: There are two forms of communications, verbal and nonverbal. All too often, people forget that their nsonverbal communications speak volumes about them and influence others.
In fact, psychologist Albert Mehrabian found that when listeners judged the content of a speech, they were persuaded significantly more by the speaker’s tone of voice and body language than by the words the speaker was saying. Tone of voice accounted for nearly 40 percent and the body language accounted for over 50 percent of the speakers power of persuasion. Only 7 percent of the speakers influence came from the actual words themselves.
a. Technique: Since people respond to your tone of voice more than your words, be cognizant of it. Pitching your voice lower and slowing your speaking pace has tremendous benefits. Be sure to speak loudly enough but don’t shout your words. A good rule to follow is that you should consistently enjoy the full and resonant sound of your own voice.
b. Technique: Because people respond to your body language more than your words, use your appearance and mannerisms to your advantage. Walk tall and with a purpose, keep your smile on, make clear eye contact, deliver a firm but not smashing handshake, and convey a relaxed yet confident energy. Take extra efforts in controlling nervous limbs and keep your hands away from your face. When you look like pro, people will regard you as one and pay closer attention to what you have to say.
2) Point: If only 7 percent of a speaker’s influence is word-dependent, be sure to choose your words wisely. There are hoards of websites that can give you lists of words to say and ones to stay away from. Ask Siri or Google for a list and pick a few to concentrate on. In the meantime, consider these few as a primer:
a. Technique: Build rapport with three simple words. Simply exchange the polarizing words I and you for we, us and our and watch the magic happen. For example, say you are having a conversation with another tradesman about a problem on a jobsite. Now imagine how he or she would respond to this statement: “You’ve got a real problem here!” I’ll bet your chances of any cooperation have fallen to near zero. Now try this: “We’ve got a real problem here!” With just one word, you’ve changed the problem into something you can both deal with, and thus increased your chances of cooperation and resolution.
b. Technique: Avoid language that restricts, splits people apart, and calls out winners and losers. This will force you to approach difficulties with language that frames opportunities, not dead ends. Think instead about building relationships, forging teamwork and creating a sense of partnership with those you are communicating with. Doing so will further your cause and drive the results you want.
Good Communicating! •